After severe drought-hit parts of Kashmir, rains lashed the valley consecutively for three days ending a long dry spell but bringing along havoc of landslides and canal breaches. Shooting stones were witnessed along with massive landslides on Jammu Srinagar National Highway. According to J&K Traffic Police, “3000 vehicles have been stranded” on the terrain with tens of trucks partially stuck in the debris pouring down the hills.
Besides this, Mughal Road leading to Chenab Valley from Kashmir was closed for traffic too in view of the landslides. The highway leading to Ladakh has also been shut for Friday to allow for the maintenance of damaged patches.
The intensity of the shooting stones was so high that a steel tunnel meant to safeguard vehicles travelling on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway at Panythal was also destroyed.
Schools were closed in at least six districts – Anantnag, Ramban, Baramulla, Kupwara, Kishtwar, and Kulgam – following the disruption in transport connectivity. In the Kulgam district, visuals accessed by India Ahead showed a concrete bridge being taken away by water in the river that overflowed following the rains.
Earlier Kashmir had witnessed a long dry spell forcing farmers to change their crop patterns. Tens of farmers mostly in South Kashmir said they resorted to the cultivation of crops that needed lesser supply rather than their traditional crops like paddy whose irrigation needs are more. Meanwhile, following rains, Water had also poured into residential areas in the Kulgam district.
This year after witnessing a record heat in May and April, in the last 50 years, Kashmir saw the coldest June. People residing near the slopes, rivers, and other landslide-prone areas have been advised to remain vigilant, especially in vulnerable districts like Doda where a high alert has been declared. Snowfall was also witnessed in Gurez and the upper reaches of South Kashmir.
Earlier, India Ahead had reported that a larger part of the Kashmir was hit by the drought as most of the cultivation had wilted with water levels reportedly receding the river Jhelum which is the irrigational artery for the region. Besides, Jhelum Veshav, Brengi, and Sandran had been some more rivers supplying water to the area.
While the rivers had seen a decline in the levels, many canals according to the farmers had dried up in parts of Kashmir. The Agriculture Department had suggested farmers should cultivate crops that need less water and have lesser cultivation times than the paddy. Cultivation of drought-resistant crops like pulses and vegetables was been suggested to farmers.
Because of the lack of severe western disturbances, rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir was 80 per cent lower this year than in previous years. Jammu had received just 2.1 mm of rain this year, as compared to 66 mm in past. Similarly, Srinagar had received just 21.3 mm of rainfall against 117.6 mm that it received last year as per the meteorological department.